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“There’s a lot of hope built into those numbers”…and a lot of judgment on words and not deeds

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In reading about Alberta’s climate plan this week (see here) and scanning the reaction in the press, it struck me that new thinking on climate policy is required. Indeed, with the proliferation of targets, targets and more targets, I got thinking. Since climate policy has been really good at inventing new fangled jargon like fungability and additionality, I thought we all need a new addition to the vernacular:

Targetality, the propagation of carbon targets that serve as a proxy for real action for the sole purpose of stimulating widespread indignation.

Think about it. With a definition like targetality, we can justify our collective and ongoing focus over words and not deeds. With targetality,

– Some can decry, with great indignation, that too much action is undertaken;
– Some can decry, with even greater indignation, that not enough action is undertaken;
– And the proponents of said target are smug in their announcement that the problem is solved and all factions are dissatisfied.

Ok, I am being flippant. So, check out Chris Greene’ excellent article on why the focus on targets is not, perhaps so good for climate policy (see my post here) .

So, lets get off the targetality bus. Focusing on 2050 is a nice roadmap for where we need to go and how we need to transition to a low carbon future. It also serves as a nice benchmark to compare the stringency of a government policy. But, perhaps more helpful is to figure out how we get somewhere, anywhere, and what we should do sooner rather than later.

Written by Dave Sawyer

January 29th, 2008 at 12:16 am